Concord Rangers

The Aspect Arena

Capacity: 3,250 (Seats 375)
Address: Thames Road, Canvey Island, SS8 0HH
Telephone: 01268 515 750
Club Nickname: The Beach Boys
Year Ground Opened: 1985
Home Kit: Yellow and Blue

Main Stand
Main Stand
Clubhouse End
Clubhouse End
South End
South End
Caravan Park Side
Caravan Park Side
Small Temporary Seated Stand
Small Temporary Seated Stand
Club Gates
Club Gates

The Aspect Arena, or Thames Road as it is still known to many fans, is a rather basic ground, that seems at first glance to be situated in the middle of nowhere! On one side is a small Main Stand, which runs for around half the length of the pitch, sitting astride the half way line. This covered all seated stand has just four rows of seating and at the the back there is a small press box. On either side of this stand are two small additional covered seating areas, that look temporary in nature and almost 'bolted on' to either end of the Main Stand. They are both quite small having 50 seats each. Opposite on the Caravan Park side of the stadium, it is mostly open with just a flat walkway running down behind the pitch perimeter. Apart from the sight of a number of caravans that overlook the ground, its main feature is a sizeable scaffolded structure that serves as a television gantry. This sits astride the half way line, with the team dugouts situated out front and to either side. Also on this side of the ground are two very small temporary seated stands, that are covered and also contain 50 seats each. At the back of this area the Club have put some netting put up to try and stop balls going over into the adjacent caravan park but this is not always successful.

At the South End of the ground there isn't a terrace as such but a small flat standing area behind the goal that has had a small covered erected, which has a number of supporting pillars. The North End or Clubhouse End is slightly better, having a small covered terrace located behind the goal. On one side of this end are some wrought iron gates with the Club's nickname 'Beach Boys' incorporated within them. The club house and dressing rooms occupy the north west corner of the ground. Thames Road is completed with a set of four modern looking floodlight pylons, two of which are (unusually) set on each side of the ground rather than one in each corner.

It is virtually unheard of for fans to be segregated at Thames Road, which means you can enjoy the Non-League tradition if you wish, of changing ends at half time. Food on offer inside the ground includes; Cheeseburgers (£3.20), Hot Dogs (£3), Bacon Rolls (£2.30), Chicken Nuggets (6 for £1.60) and Chips (£1.50). The Club also offer a 'meal deal' of Burger or Hot Dog, Soft or Hot Drink and Chips (£4.70). The facilities inside the ground are pretty basic but normally a friendly a relaxed visit awaits.

At the ground itself is the aptly named 'Beach Bar', which is a fair sized bar which is open to all. Otherwise due to the remote location of the ground, there is nothing else within walking distance, in terms of pubs and eating establishments. There are a couple of pubs and eating places in Canvey Island itself, otherwise if you arrive early and have a bit of time on your hands, then around a ten minute drive further along the river bank, is the Lobster Smack pub which also serves food. 

Take the A130 towards Canvey Island, and after about four miles from the A13/A130 junction you will pass Canvey Island Infant School on your right. You will then reach a mini roundabout where you turn right into Thorney Bay Road. Then take the third right into Thames Road. The ground is further down this road on the left. There is a fair sized car park at the ground, or street parking on the road running alongside the ground.

The nearest railway station is Benfleet which is located just under three miles away from the ground. Benfleet station is served by trains from London Fenchurch Street. There is a taxi rank outside the station. It will cost around £10 to the ground. Alternatively First Bus run regular services from Benfleet Railway Station to Canvey Island. Bort services Number 21 (from Bus Stop A) and Number 27 (From Bus Stop C) go along Thorney Bay Road, which is at the top of Thames Road for the ground. See the First Bus website for timetables and fares.

Booking train tickets in advance will normally save you money! Find train times, prices and book tickets with Trainline. Visit the website below to see how much you can save on the price of your tickets:

Adults £12
Concessions £7
Under 17's £3

Official Matchday Programme £2.

Canvey Island, Grays Athletic and Braintree Town.

Record Attendance
1,537 v Mansfield Town
FA Cup First Round Replay, 25th November 2014.

Average Attendance
2017-2018: 262 (National League South)
2016-2017: 287 (National League South)
2015-2016: 339 (National League South)

If you require hotel accommodation in the area then first try a hotel booking service provided by Late Rooms. They offer all types of accommodation to suit all tastes and pockets from; Budget Hotels, Traditional Bed & Breakfast establishments to Five Star Hotels and Serviced Apartments. Plus their booking system is straightforward and easy to use. Yes this site will earn a small commission if you book through them, but it will go to help with the running costs of keeping the Guide going.

Access their Canvey Island and Essex Hotels page.

Remember that you can use the above link or panel below to book any other hotels that you may need for business or leisure, either in the UK or abroad.

If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, please e-mail me at: duncan@footballgrounds.net and I'll update the guide.

Special thanks to Russell Cox for providing the photos of the Concord Rangers fotball ground. Visit his Wycombe Wanderer groundhopping blog.

Concord Rangers v Hampton and Richmond Borough
National League South
Saturday 7th April 2018, 3pm
Myles Munsey (Groundhopper)

Reasons for the visit:
There are four clubs in Essex in this league. Whilst Chelmsford City, East Thurrock and Braintree Town are required, the thought of visiting a genuine soccer outpost greatly appealed and so Concord Rangers’ isolated Aspect Arena was definitely on the ‘must do’ list and put at the front of the queue. There was also quite a bit was riding on this game. Concord Rangers have spent much of the season looking over their shoulders. They needed points to avoid being sucked into a relegation dogfight. I liked the idea of a trip to Canvey Island - an area about which I knew little. It proved to be an interesting day out.
 
I allowed plenty of time as I wanted to investigate the surroundings a little as well as watch the football. The island in the main is a flat treeless area – very bleak in winter I imagine so the presence of a level 6 football club here is remarkable.
 
Getting there:
Essex is a fair way away so plenty of time was allowed for my train journey. The 11.13 train from London Liverpool Street deposited me at Benfleet at 12 noon. The bus service hereabouts is superb. It runs every few minutes and the No.21 stops a short walk from the ground.
 
First impressions:
The approach to the ground is somewhat odd with smart housing on one side and a field full of horses set against a gasometer skyline on the other. A large willow tree stands by the entrance. Inside it is neat but basic. Two seated stands are available along the side and a couple of covered terraces stand behind each goal. There is an outdoor area with round coffee tables where I chatted happily away with fellow fans in the warm sunshine. Behind the south terrace are three ominous-looking and decaying gas holders which rather spooked me out! These are offset by some tall trees. Common at this level is the use of netting to catch wayward clearances. In fact, one errant shot got trapped in said netting and was still there at full time! So all in all the ground is neat and functional with plenty of space in the 3,300 capacity arena.
 
The South End
 
South End Concord Rangers
 
Before the game:
The only problem with this ground is, as has been suggested, that it is in the middle of nowhere. I wouldn’t put it quite like that but the bus dropped me in in a well-appointed residential area amongst palm trees and goldfish ponds. Very nice but I needed to find some lunch. So upon obtaining directions, a 20 minute walk was required to reach the Bay Café for a light meal. From the café I ambled back along the seawall observing container ships passing in the Thames Estuary. Then I could see the floodlights on the far side of the caravan park. My attempt at a short cut wasn’t a resounding success and I had to perform a series of doglegs through the caravan site to escape! After a series of twists and turns I got to the ground with well over an hour to spare so had time to converse with fellow supporters – a Newport County supporter living in Pitsea and a charming couple from Lincoln getting a game in before the Imps EFL Trophy appearance at Wembley Stadium the following day.
A very nice touch was a young lady distributing team sheets around the ground. Normally one has to go looking for these. I grabbed a quick coffee at the Food Station whilst noting the prices:
 
Pie & chips £4
Quarter pounder burger with cheese £3.50
Half pounder burger with cheese £4.50
Hot dogs £3
Bacon roll £2.50
Bacon & egg roll £3.30
Chips £1.50
Cheesy chips £2
Tea/coffee £1
 
I chose to sit in the Main (West) Stand which afforded an excellent view across the half way line.
.
The game:
After a dismal Easter (my Good Friday visit to Maidenhead United being abandoned at halftime following a deluge), this was played under blue skies with frequent sunny spells. This was an open game with plenty of action in the first half. Concord Rangers missed two reasonable chances before Hampton came more into it forcing Wells into a couple of good saves. Shortly before half time Hampton’s goal survived a scare when Wassmer’s header came back off the post.
 
Goalless at half time. The second half followed a similar pattern. The deadlock was broken just past the hour mark when Ben Greenhalgh crossed for Captain Steve Cawley to plant a firm downward header past Dieng in the Hampton goal. Hampton nearly rescued a point with Jeffers striking a sweet free kick against the bar. So a narrow but vital win for the Essex club. A match well refereed by Mr Aji Ajibola (splendid name). A much-needed win for Concord then after three successive losses. With games running out and an eight point cushion above the drop zone, this success should guarantee their place in this league for next season.
 
Getting away:
I picked up a bus at 10 past 5 which took a mere ten minutes to reach Benfleet Station. I was able to catch the 17.30 to Fenchurch Street – home by 9pm.
 
Overall thoughts:
A good day out in a hassle-free atmosphere and an entertaining game of football. With six games remaining the three hard-earned points for the Essex club will go a long way to ensure their survival. The other singular observation was once again the presence of dogs – three this time. Which only goes to emphasise just how relaxing it is watching football at this level.
 
Attendance: 254.
 
And finally:
Football teams are named after all sorts of things but Concord Rangers being named after the adjacent Concord beach must be unique - certainly in this guide.

Concord Rangers v Margate
Pre-Season Friendly
Saturday 22nd July 2017, 3pm
Andy Wilkins (Neutral fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Thames Road Ground?
 
It had been nearly a year since I last visited the ground and given this was the only local game in my area that I could attend due to budget, I decided that going down to Thames Road to see Concord in action would be a nice little trip for me in the height of pre-season. I normally try and get to at least 10 games in before the domestic league season starts.
 
How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
 
For me, it was a simple 25 minute bus ride that went rather smoothly without any interruption followed by a 10 minute walk to the ground.
 
What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?
 
I didn't visit a pub but the home fans were nice and chatty like always whilst I spoke to a few Margate fans who were very upbeat even after being relegated from Concord's league (National League South) in the April before this game. In fact, I got told a few of them went via the ferry across to Tilbury where they hopped on a train instead of going in and out of London to get there.
 
What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Thames Road Ground?
 
Thames Road has a lovely feel to it that is different to the rest of the grounds in that little pocket of Essex where seven other senior clubs lie. I rather like the covered shelters at both goal ends personally as they give a sense of comfort for if it rains at any point.
 
Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc.
 
The game was a good pre-season test for both sides. Margate won the match 2-0 but Concord were just as competitive. Pre-season doesn't prove anything except helping fitness levels to all of the players involved I happen to find.
 
Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
 
For me, it was an easy walk back followed by a bus home. I had no trouble getting back from the ground.
 
Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
 
A lovely day out for me and I will be returning to see Concord Rangers in action hopefully during the competitive season.

Concord Rangers v Bishop's Stortford
National League South
Tuesday 6th September 2016, 7.45pm
Brian Scott (Neutral fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Thames Road ground?

Just another ground to tick off in my list of National League teams to visit. I knew that the Thames Road ground was very small, so my expectations were not very high!

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

I had an easy journey down the A12 and A130 to Canvey Island, but I was surprised at the amount of traffic close to my destination. I was quite early and I got one of the last few spaces in the club car park, but there was parking available on the road beside the ground.

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?

Before arriving at the ground I went further on down Thorney Bay Road to have a look at Thorney Bay. I was unimpressed by the tiny beach area, but there is a nice view out to the river. Once entering the ground I had a good look around, getting details of number of seats etc. During my visit I spoke to home and away fans, all were friendly.

What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of Thames Road?

It was not too much of a shock because I had been fore-warned by the details on this site! I suppose the best word to describe it is 'tiny'. However, sufficient for the club's needs I suppose. There is no away area and fans mingled happily as is normal in the National League South.

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

An evening game which started in 25 degree heat and by the end it had only gone down to 21. Sweating in shorts and tee-shirt. Both teams are towards the bottom of the league and Concord Rangers had yet to score at home this season. A Bishop's Stortford fan said to me at the start; "This games got 0-0 written all over it, as we are nearly as bad as Concord this season." He was proved to be correct. I don't think that I've ever been to a game at this level or above where there has never been any chanting from the crowd at all. In fact the players and referee were making more noise. However, there was far too much bad language from the players. There is not really much to say about the game. There were a few goal attempts, Concord did hit the crossbar in the second half. The best of the action happened in the final three minutes of injury time, when either team could have taken the three points. For me the most memorable event was meeting a chap at half time as I walked around the perimeter of the ground. It turned out that he was a Bishop's Stortford fan, and in fact he lives only five miles away from me just to the north of Stowmarket in Suffolk. He travels to nearly all Bishop's Stortford games home and away. Even when Bishop's Stortford were in the National League North a few seasons ago. I didn't really understand why he transferred his support from Ipswich Town to Bishop's Stortford.

For this level of football the facilities were about right that is with the exception of the toilets! After entering the ground I was directed to some toilets in the club house. The gents were awful and filthy. Later on I discovered a small block of temporary toilets behind the north end of the ground. These were just as bad, but not quite so filthy but there was rubbish kicking around on the floor, no toilet paper in one cubicle and no hand towels. With an attendance of 234, surely all the hand towels couldn't have been used up could they? Replacement is needed urgently!

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

It didn't take long to walk to my car after the final whistle and I was away and on the road for my 70 mile trip back to central Suffolk.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Thankfully, not too many hours spent going to this out of the way backwater of English football's sixth tier. I hope I don't have to go back again!

Why not write your own review of the Aspect Arena Concord Rangers and have it included in the Guide? Find out more about submitting a Fans Football Ground Review.

Updated 24th October 2018

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